OMGTEA – A Trip To Japan

OMGTEA – A Trip To Japan

OMGTEA is sourced from the best possible suppliers in Japan who have won many awards for their exacting standards of organic matcha farming and production.

As matcha specialists (we don’t do any other teas) OMGTEA have developed a range of matcha to cater for different budgets and styles.

OMGTEA’s aims to make matcha as mainstream in the west as it is in Japan.

We have seen more and more people switching from coffee to matcha recently as the word about its fantastic health benefits and the sustained energy it delivers spreads and we believe within the next few years’ people will be ordering a matcha as opposed to their usual coffee/caffeine tipple.

The Story Behind OMGTEA

OMGTEA was founded by Katherine Swift when she discovered matcha’s incredible health benefits when her mum was diagnosed with breast cancer & whilst working for a leading breast cancer charity. OMGTEA has an abundance of EGCG which has been shown in clinical and scientific studies to help prevent & fight cancer. Katherine’s personal story is what makes OMGTEA unique amongst matcha brands.

OMGTEA is working with UK leading medical professionals at Manchester University* conducting scientific trials which leave no doubt as to its superior health benefits for ageing and major diseases.

The University of Chichester** are also testing OMGTEA in relation to fat oxidation to show how OMGTEA enhances healthy weight loss.

A percentage of OMGTEA’s profits have been pledged to The Healthy Life Foundation, a charity founded by Katherine Swift that funds research into ageing.

*The Manchester Centre for Cellular Metabolism at Manchester University
**Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Chichester

Not all matcha’s are created equal, so what is the difference?

When it comes to buying matcha it’s really important to recognise the real differences between a quality matcha and one that just isn’t up to scratch.

You may think that a matcha labelled as “Ceremonial Grade” versus one labelled “Cooking Grade” or “Culinary Grade” will ensure you are buying good quality matcha, Yes? Actually NO! Put simply it’s the taste and the colour. Higher quality grades have a sweeter, smoother taste and are a more vibrant green. On the other hand, lower grade matcha’s tend to be more bitter to taste, can be gritty and have are less vibrant green. So taking the time to research your matcha means you will hopefully choose well.

Tracing OMGTEA’s Matcha roots

At OMGTEA we like to know exactly what matcha we’re drinking. We want to know where it came from, who has grown it and what journey its taken to get to our cup. There are two major regions in which matcha is cultivated, one is Nishio in the heart of Aichi-prefecture, and the other one is Uji in Kyoto. Some of Japan’s highest quality teas come from Nishio, where the Japanese have been cultivating tea since the 1200’s. Nishio’s stable climate, fresh and beautifully clear river waters, fertile soil and situated miles from polluted urban areas means it’s tea leaves are more resiliently grown, green and packed full of nutrients – more so than those found in any other regions of Japan.

It’s a key region for organic cultivation as it is located 600m above sea level providing a cooler climate. These lower temperatures provide a natural barrier against insects. This is obviously very important since organic production does not use any pesticides and relies on natural fertilizers only. The matcha farmers in this region are considered among the best in Japan for organic cultivation.

OMGTEA’s trip to Japan

Following OMGTEA from leaf to tin in Nishio.

To find out more about how OMGTEA’s matcha is cultivated we travelled to Japan this May to immerse ourselves in all that is Matcha.

Japanese Zen Buddhist monks have been using matcha for over 800 years when they discovered it aided meditation. For centuries matcha was reserved exclusively for Japan’s royalty and religious elite, nowadays, in addition to being an important part of the cultural heritage, matcha is used by the Japanese on a daily basis as a drink and as an ingredient, we even found matcha Kit Kats!

After soaking up the sights in the world’s most populous metropolis, Tokyo, we head down to Nishio on the ‘Shinkansen’ bullet train.

On arriving at a small tea field we are introduced to one of the local farmers. We are quite taken aback to learn that he has been farming here for 47 years and at 67 looks much much younger, he says this is due to the Matcha he consumes every day. In fact, he informs us that he only drinks matcha, no coffee at all, because he believes it’s the purest thing to drink.

Our tea company has an exclusive contract with this farmer and the factory is within metres of the tea plantation so the leaves can be taken straight from the field and into production.

Our next stop is the factory where we see the tea leaves being steamed, air dried and roasted.

At the end of the production line we are greeted by Mitsuhiro Sugita the company’s professional tea taster, who has dedicated his 40-year career to matcha. Mr Sugita explains that the art of tea tasting which he says is very like wine tasting, where one must sip in a small mouthful, while breathing in air to get the full taste of the tea. He decides on quality, price and use. All of out tea will pass his nose, his hands and his palate and only the leaves he believes are good enough will be turned into matcha.

The final stage of production is an extensive process where the leaves are ground into a fine powder using traditional Japanese granite stone mills.

It takes 1 hour to grind just 40g of matcha, if the stone mills worked any faster the leaves would burn.